Since Bitcoin’s release in 2009, cryptocurrencies (cryptos) have been grabbing the headlines. In the last few years, we’ve seen dramatic fluctuations in the market along with plenty of debate and excitement around their role in the modern world of finance. Right down to the recent controversial collapse of crypto exchange FTX.
Today, the global crypto market is estimated to be worth more than trillion, with the US leading the way. (More than one in five (21 per cent) of Americans say they have invested in crypto). Alongside Bitcoin, Ethereum is enabling other decentralised applications to use its network while newer ones are also attracting interest due to their ability to handle faster transactions.
Without a doubt, cryptos are an asset class that has become too large to ignore, meaning that, despite wild price swings, it has seen broad institutional interest too. Large Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs, have opened crypto trading desks, and in such an active market, it’s no surprise that many financial technology (FinTech) and financial services (FinServ) institutions are looking for ways to attract and retain crypto investors too.
How cryptocurrencies work
But what exactly are cryptos? Put simply, they are digital currencies that are not dependent on a central authority, such as a bank or government, to uphold and maintain them. Instead, owners rely on blockchain technology to make, store, and exchange assets.
A blockchain, meanwhile, is a distributed database that’s designed to store and secure digital information across the nodes of a computer network. This information is continuously updated and backed up on multiple machines, making it hard to change. That’s because if a bad actor tries to alter a blockchain with, say, an unauthorised transaction, the many ‘backed up’ versions in the network can prevent that transaction from completing.
It’s worth noting too that while all blockchains are designed to keep information secure, the security of each one depends on the quality of its code. This means some blockchains are more secure than others.
Changing attitudes towards investing
As for why crypto has become so high-profile, a lot can be traced back to a change in behaviour. Whereas investing used to be an arena of the rich, thanks to easy-to-use investing apps, this is no longer the case. The last two years, in particular, have seen young people’s attitudes towards investing shift dramatically, to the point that a few months into the pandemic, a survey by Finder.com found that 75 per cent of Gen Z and Millennials were planning to invest in the stock market.
More recently, the Royal Mint’s 2022 Gen Z Investment Report revealed that young people are set to invest £9.4 billion during the 2022/2023 financial year. And as wealth and spending power moves into the hands of younger generations, FinServ and FinTech companies have an opportunity to attract a significant share of the market.
The role of CX in crypto: young people expect digital-first service
To do so, however, they must align themselves with the needs and expectations of young people. Digital savvy customers want easy-to-use apps, great customer service, and 24/7 access to reliable information. Reputation is everything in such a competitive market. And with so many investment apps and exchanges to choose from, delivering outstanding, digital-first customer experiences (CX) is a key differentiator when it comes to winning the fight for users.
One example of a crypto trading platform that’s successfully investing in CX to attract and retain customers is BtcTurk. The platform was launched in Turkey in 2013 and was the first of its kind in the country. It now has more than five million users and uses Zendesk to empower 700 agents to provide customer support. This includes 24/7 live chat where Zendesk’s triggers and automation features enable the company to alert people to where they are in the queue. BtcTurk also uses Zendesk’s reporting feature to assess agent efficiency and now enjoys a customer satisfaction score (CSAT) of 90 per cent.
Rain is another crypto exchange focused on delivering excellent CX through live chat. Founded in 2017, it uses Zendesk to provide its agents with a customer-centric view, which removes the need to search different pages to figure out the history of a customer. This enables them to work faster and more efficiently. As a result, the company’s average handling times on Zendesk Chat are now less than one minute, while its CSAT score is approaching 90 per cent.
What’s next for crypto?
While the future of cryptocurrencies is difficult to predict, we can expect to see greater transparency and regulation around their trading and use. Already, several national governments are working on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) that would be issued and regulated by the country’s government and linked to the relevant fiat currency. Meanwhile, emerging platforms like the metaverse are providing new opportunities for digital assets to be made and spent.
In other words, crypto is evolving fast, which is why FinServ and FinTech companies are right to be watching developments with interest. The potential opportunities crypto offers are undeniably exciting. How effectively companies seize them will rest on their ability to deliver exceptional CX.